OL coming in as Niners look to fill void

Free agent offensive lineman Chris Patrick passed a physical with the 49ers on Sunday afternoon and later signed a one-year deal with the team. The University of Nebraska product, who was with the Detroit Lions earlier this year, will vie for a roster berth to bolster the depth on San Francisco's offensive line after that unit lost tackle Damane Duckett to a season-ending knee injury.

Patrick, waived last Thursday by the Lions, also has spent time with the New York Giants, New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers since entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2007.

At 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds, he is capable of playing both guard and tackle, but he projects better to tackle.

That is where he could compete for a roster spot with the 49ers, who are looking for backups there after losing Duckett for the season. Duckett, the former defensive lineman who had worked his way up the depth chart with the team after switching to the other side of the line, injured his knee during Friday's exhibition opener against Oakland and will undergo surgery and be placed on injured reserve.

"Duckett has the knee so he needs to get that corrected," 49ers coach Mike Nolan said. "There was a jamming – landing on it. I don't know what kind of surgery they are going to do, but they've got to do something there."

Patrick was originally signed as a rookie free agent in July 2007 by the Giants. He went on to see action in the preseason opener for the Giants that season before being released and claimed off waivers by the New England Patriots. He was waived during the final roster cuts by the Patriots.

Patrick then was signed in September to the Green Bay Packers' practice squad, where he remained until being placed on the practice squad/injured list in January. Green Bay signed Patrick to a future contract on February 11 before releasing him on March 23. He signed with Detroit on May 6 before being waived las week.

With the release of linebacker Brandon Moore on Sunday, the 49ers had two open roster spots before taking the field for their afternoon practice. The other spot later was filled by veteran linebacker Takeo Spikes, who signed a one-year deal with the team early Sunday evening.

San Francisco was expected to have free agent offensive lineman Charles Spencer in for a visit this weekend, but that visit has been postponed and now might not take place at all after the signing of Patrick.

The 6-foot-4, 340-pound Spencer was waived Thursday by the Carolina Panthers for what coach John Fox called a conditioning issue. The Panthers had claimed Spencer off waivers from the Houston Texans two days before training camp began last month.

The former third-round draft pick of the Texans hasn't played in the NFL since breaking his leg during his rookie season of 2006.

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